Saturday, October 17, 2009

President's Message

Greetings Dogwooders!

As I sit here writing this with guidance from my helper, 2009 is nearing its end which means our chapter is approaching a time of the year that we all look forward to. In only a couple of weeks many of our members will be in Urbanna for the annual gathering at the Oyster Festival and then less than a month after that we’ll gather for our annual Christmas rally in Virginia Beach. These are both festive occasions that promise fun and fellowship for all of us. For our newest members who haven’t experienced our Christmas rally before, do yourself a favor; don’t wait; make plans, payment and reservations now.

If you missed the Williams Grove Raceway rally in PA on October 1 through 3, you missed a great time. Mother nature delivered a couple of challenges in the form of rain on Friday night's race and cold temperatures for Saturday night's race. At least one of our members was smart enough to watch the Saturday race on Speedvision where the race was broadcast live. Did anyone else see us huddled in the stands? Special thanks to Ed Fisher for arranging for the parking passes. Ed also impressed everyone with his culinary skills when he single handedly cooked pancakes for the whole group for Saturday morning’s breakfast. We all marveled at how each and every one was perfectly cooked. Good job Ed!

Our chapter is thriving due to the hard work of many. Thanks to each of you, our membership continues to grow and now stands at 69 members. Speaking of new members, I’d like to offer a great big DOGWOOD WELCOME to our newest members Butch and Liz Jones who joined the chapter following the Williams Grove rally.
Carolyn and I look forward to seeing you at our fall rallies. In the meantime, y’all travel safe.

Christmas Rally at Virginia Beach

The Christmas rally will be held December 4 - 6 at the Holiday Trav-L-Park Campground in Virginia Beach. Hosts for the rally are Max & Barbara Hicks, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood and Paul & Nancy Cummings.

Campsites: Everyone must make their own reservation with the campground at 757-425-0249 Ext 203; ask for June and tell her you are with Dogwood. We will be using the campground's "super sites" at a cost of $35.54 including tax. The same rate will apply for early arrivals and later departures. All sites have concrete pads with patio, 50 amps, and cable TV. WiFi is available for an additional fee. Please reserve your campsite by November 10 as the campground has blocked off a set of sites for Dogwood and already has a waiting list for the weekend.

Rally Registration: Fees for the rally are $25 per person (or $50 per coach with 2 people). Please mail a check payable to Max (Charles M. Hicks) at 15 Warren Drive, Portsmouth, VA 23701 by November 10. Please include a note stating who will be attending the rally.

We have reserved a large room, the "Tally HO", for the entire weekend.

Thursday: For those who arrive early,

4:00 pm: Happy hour. BYOD and a light snack to share if you so desire.

7:00 pm: The Eastern Gourmands chapter will be having a meal and meeting at the Lucky Oyster restaurant and all Dogwood rally attendees are welcome - you don’t have to be a Gourmands member to come. Just let Gourmands President-Elect Barbara Greenwood know that you plan on dining with them so she can reserve enough adjacent tables to accommodate everyone. (Contact Barbara at or 804-337-4345).

5 pm: Wine and cheese happy hour hosted by Paul & Nancy Cummings. Bring a bottle of wine from your travels to share with the group. Snacks provided by hosts.

6 pm: Pizza dinner.

After Dinner: We suggest a ride down the Boardwalk to view the Christmas Illumination or check out the activities at Hunt Club Farm (more information below).

9 am: Breakfast; Deluxe IHOP style pancakes, sausage and fruit bowl.

10 am: Business meeting

5 pm: Happy hour; light snacks provided

6 pm: Dinner catered by Rodman's Bar-B-Q. Includes pulled pork barbeque, fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans and fried red peanuts. Everything will be furnished.

After dinner: Yankee Gift Swap

9 am: Breakfast; Biscuits with sausage gravy and a fruit bowl.

Bring your own plates and eating utensils to all meals (except Saturday night when they will be provided by the caterer). Coffee will be provided at breakfast; otherwise bring your own beverages.

Yankee Gift Swap: This event has become a Dogwood tradition. Each coach is to bring a wrapped gift with a value of approximately $20. Each coach will draw a number from the hat. #1 selects a gift and opens it. #2 can either take #1's gift or an unopened gift. #3 can take #1 or #2's gift or an unopened gift and so on. There is lots of laughter as gifts are "stolen". Once again, thanks to Donna Gruel who has volunteered to emcee the event.

Area Attractions:

Holiday Lights at the Beach: Ride down the Boardwalk to view the Christmas Illumination from your own car for $10.00 a carload or take advantage of the Campground Shuttle which does the whole round trip from the campground for $7.00 per person. Click here for more information.

Hunt Club Farm: View the Christmas lights, animations and more. Click here for more information.

Virginia Aquarium – A new exhibit called “Restless Planet” opened in November. Click here to check out the aquarium's web site or here for a very favorable article from the November 18 Virginian-Pilot. The aquarium is also offering two IMAX films: Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” and a striking “Under the Sea” 3-D photographic documentary. Discount tickets are available for seniors.

There is lots more to see and do in the area, so check with your rally hosts or look through the big pile of brochures, maps and flyers included in the goodie bag you will receive at rally check-in.

Directions: We strongly suggest that you do not follow the directions given in Woodall’s or Trailer Life to the Holiday Trav-L-Park – extensive construction on Birdneck Road has made it almost impassible to large motorhomes. A better route is to exit the Virginia Beach Expressway (I-264) at Exit 21A onto First Colonial Road South. Follow this road (it eventually changes name to Oceana Boulevard ) for a little over four miles, then turn left onto General Booth Boulevard . Go about ¾ of a mile north on General Booth and turn left into the campground. Look sharp – the sign is a little hard to spot.

Members Who Have Signed Up to Attend the Rally: Hicks, Greenwood, Alexander, Buelow, Duff, Gruel, Jones, Martin, Dan Moore, Schoolar, Sohles, Venable, Warthan, Wayman, Weigley, Fisher, Cummings, Dyke, Thomas, Allen

Mini Rally for the Urbanna Oyster Festival

Dogwood will have a mini-rally, November 5 - 8, at Ed Fisher's garage in conjunction with the Urbanna Oyster Festival. In the past the coaches have parked around his garage then members congregated inside for meals and socializing. Most arrive on Thursday and depart on Sunday. We will be dry camping (limited electricity available for some coaches), however, there is water, electricity and a bathroom inside the garage.

The Urbanna Oyster Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday (November 6 & 7). Click
here to link to the festival's web site.

Space is limited, so if you are interested, contact Berkley Alexander 804.754.1308 or ( ).

Members signed up for the rally include: Fisher, Alexander, Duff, Buelow, Warthan, Hicks, Gruel, Greenwood, Jones, Hughes, Cherrington, Cannon, Wayman, Clements

Highlights from the Williams Grove Rally

Thirteen coaches ventured to the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside in early October to attend the Williams Grove rally. We dry camped at the speedway and kicked off the rally with dinner on Thursday evening.

There was lots to do in the area, so folks divided up into smaller groups and went their own way then got back together for breakfasts and happy hours. Members enjoyed the car swap meet in Carlisle, shopping at the outlet mall, quilt shops, the Apple Harvest Festival, the factory tour at the Harley Davidson plant, or just relaxing at the motor home.

After sitting 5 hours through off and on showers, Friday night's race was cancelled. Saturday night 13 members attended the World of Outlaw races. Cars, and mud were flying! There were fireworks Friday and Saturday evenings which could also be seen back at the coaches by those who did not attend the races.

Click here to view pictures from the rally.

Rally Schedule for 2010

It is time to develop our 2010 rally schedule. In the past, the chapter has had 4 or 5 rallies a year. Some of our members think it would be a good idea to have more or maybe spread out to more distant locations. What do you think? Be thinking of locations as at our December business meeting we will rough out the schedule for the year.

We have found that if several couples (2-4) volunteer to work together to host a rally, it makes the task more manageable and enjoyable. If you have never hosted a rally, consider co-hosting with someone who has. Likewise if you are an old pro as a rally host, consider working with a first timer to pass on your experience. And if you don't host, be sure to help out with cooking, set up or clean up, so that the burden is not placed solely on the hosts.

The Gruels, Luxtons and Martins have already volunteered to host a rally together. New member Susan Weigley said that they visited Endless Caverns, a Morgan Resort RV park, a couple of miles from I 81, just south of New Market, and thought it would be a good spot for a rally. Mann and Carolyn Duff plan to host a rally at Virginia International Raceway for the Gold Cup Historics.

Bylaw Revisions and Standing Rules

Dogwood Chapter Bylaws require a minimum of 30 days notice prior to voting on changes to the Bylaws. For our members who have been in our business meetings this year, you know that I think we need to update our Bylaws to (1) clarify the wording of the terms of officers (2) eliminate the position of newsletter editor position since we no longer produce a news letter per se and replace it with the position of Vice President Communications which more clearly identifies the nature of the job and (3) incorporate wording from FMCA's bylaw guidelines.

For any members who are not aware, standing rules are intended to compliment our bylaws by documenting in further detail such things as officers responsibilities, general policies and procedures etc .

As far as I’ve been able to determine, Dogwood has never had any standing rules but in my opinion, we need to adopt standing rules to offer guidance to the current slate of officers and those that follow. I’ve written the standing rules to cover the areas of operation that I feel need to be documented. While the chapter has operated successfully for the past ten years without documented procedures, it seems to me the likelihood of continued success is much improved by documenting how we expect the chapter operate in a few key areas.

I’ll present both the revised Bylaws and proposed standing rules at our next scheduled Dogwood Chapter business meeting in VA Beach on Saturday, December 5, 2009. In the meantime, I’m requesting that all members please review the proposed revised Bylaws and standing rules. If you have any concerns or suggestions, I welcome them, but please contact me so that any issues may be resolved prior to the business meeting.

Please click on these links to view the proposed bylaw revisions and standing rules.

Thanks for your thoughts and assistance,

Mann Duff


Dogwood has one new member. Please welcome Butch & Liz Jones who joined us for the Williams Grove rally.

The Photo Directory and Dogwood Directory will be updated after the December meeting. If your photo is missing from the Directory (or you don't like the one that is there), see Mann at the Christamas rally or feel free to send one and we will include it.

Current Dogwood Membership: 69 members (68 members in good standing and 1 member whose status is unknown)